NDAA: Another Step Toward Tyranny
How much freedom are you willing to sacrifice in the name of security?
Benjamin Franklin said “Those who are willing to sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.” I fear we may be at risk of losing both.
The shock and aftermath of 9/11 left Americans desperate for security. That desperation set the stage for easy passage and acceptance of The Patriot Act. Americans willingly handed the federal government this instrument to begin chiseling away the foundation of liberty.
While some contend that the National Defense Authorization Act is simply an extension of the Patriot Act, I submit that it is much more than an extension. It is a wrecking bar of the Bill of Rights. The Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the FBI and the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division have all said that the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA are harmful and counterproductive.
Despite the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a right to trial, this bill allows the government to lock up any citizen it contends is a terrorist, for an indefinite period of time, without the burden of proving its case to an independent judge. The bill’s chief architect, Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) tried to convince those in opposition of the bill that it was not as bad as it appeared. Levin said,
The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does NOT EXTEND to citizens of the United States. The bill would just LET THE GOVERNMENT DETAIN a citizen in military custody, not FORCE it to do that.
So, according to the Levin, we should feel more comfortable knowing this bill gives the government the power to detain American citizens indefinitely, but does not force the government to do so.
If this is the best argument the chief architect of this bill can present to address the concerns of outraged Americans, you have to wonder what our elected representatives were thinking when they passed it. In order to satisfy opponents’ concerns, the final legislation states that nothing in it may be “construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the dentition of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States. The Supreme Court has said U.S. citizens CAN be held by the military as enemy combatants, but the law is unclear on whether that includes those captured inside the United States and the issue is hotly disputed.
What has happened here is a shift in who will take custody of suspected terrorists and the laws that apply to detainment. Prior to NDAA, if I was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities, I could not be detained indefinitely without charges being filed and my guilt proven. Under the NDAA, if I were taken into custody by law enforcement as a suspected terrorist, I may be transferred to military custody, which means, according to the Supreme Court, I can be held indefinitely as an enemy combatant.
Regardless of how it is presented, this bill strips away our most basic freedoms. Too many people representing us in Washington who voted for the NDAA have either LOST or NEVER UNDERSTOOD the spirit of liberty. This frightens me for my country.
In December of 2011, President Obama signed the 2012 act into law. On May 15, 2012, ruling on a suit brought by a number of private citizens claiming that the act allows indefinite military detention, U.S. District Judge Katherine Harris blocked section 1021. Her statement follows:
“As set forth above, this Court has found that plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits regarding their constitutional claim and it therefore has a responsibility to insure that the public’s constitutional rights are protected. Accordingly, this Court finds that the public interest is best served by the issuance of the preliminary relief recited herein.”
The government sidestepped the ruling, saying, “The government construes this Court’s Order as applying only as to the named plaintiffs in this suit.”
The 2013 is currently being debated in Congress.
As Samuel Adams once said “When the spirit of liberty is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easier victims to tyranny.”
In fact, Adams and the founders were so adamant about guarding and defending liberty, they informed those who did not share this passionate position to take a hike and “kiss the feet of your king but not in our country.”
Samuel Adams said, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
The ambiguity of this bill should be more terrifying to Americans than the threat posed by suspected terrorists roaming the continent. After all, truth is the new hate speech and law abiding, Second Amendment supporting conservative patriots may be considered terrorists by the current administration.
So, in the spirit of our founding fathers, I say to those in Congress who supported this bill, crouch down and lick the hands of wealth that have fed you and enjoy the chains of special interest that enslave you. They are not the hands of those you were elected to represent. You are not our countrymen, and you no longer represent us.